GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- As states around the country re-think the criminalization of marijuana, police departments are taking a second look on how best to enforce marijuana laws.
That was the topic Tuesday at the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives training conference in Grand Rapids.
Police chiefs and drug enforcement officers from around the country discussed the war on drugs and how banning certain substances has unintended consequences, according to former member of Congress Kendrick Meek.
"Many of the laws we pass are going after the big guy. The little guy ended up getting caught in the dragnet, and we filled our prisons and jails with those individuals. Some of them had substance abuse problems -- many of them. Part of the discussion here today: should they receive treatment or should they be part of the criminal justice system?"
The panel also discussed how marijuana laws have disproportionately targeted African-American youth, as well as the negative consequences of banning menthol cigarettes.